About Rachael Chatoor
In my earliest days...
I toured around my province in Canada with a duo called the Forget me Nots. After a making a funny promo video (long before YouTube was a thing), our agents told us to put together a band so they would send us overseas.
A couple months later 4 girls wound up In the United Arab Emirates, rocking out night after night for a three month tour. It was there that I found my husband who himself had travelled to the UAE from the UK to work.
Fast forward more than a decade, four continents and a couple of kids later...
I found myself back in Canada and on the road doing a rock n roll video series called "All Access Pass" with Kelly Brock (of famed Vancouver band Dr Strangelove) where we got to go backstage and interview music industry royalty such as Loverboy and Chilliwack and go behind the scenes with music industry bigwigs to lift the veil for viewers! (We were both working musician Moms, carving out a creative space for ourselves and we had a blast doing this series).
I also had the Rachael Chatoor Band rotating in and out of the River Rock and Hard Rock Casinos, was lead singer in Hitzone, and sang background with Catherine St Germain in the Indestructables; all of which rotated in and out of the big rooms.
I played Nancy Wilson in Barracuda, Canada's Tribute to Heart, (and shared the stage several times with original Heart guitarist Roger Fisher), and eventually created the Rockingbyrds with Russell Marsland of the R & B AllStars and Jeff Neill of Streetheart.
All of these dynamic bands were playing casinos, theatres, corporate events and festivals locally and nationally.
At the time I also subbed in with a few other bands who were on the circuit and I was doing solo shows, so, some weeks were, well really, a mind melt between all the different song lists and costume changes I had to prepare or pack for. I never minded the grind however, it was my job and I liked it.
While all of that was thrilling and exhausting it was also complicated because it involved so many bands. But musicians had to diversify, so manage I did. I am sure it was good for my brain to have to remember so much.
Eventually I had the incredible good fortune to be asked to be a part of one of the groups I had previously subbed in for, Dreams and Arrival, two of the busiest, bands I've ever had the pleasure of working with. (Dreams and Arrival are the same band so they were as efficient as they were diverse).
This group is a well oiled machine and I had the time of my life performing on those big stages, it was always a good gig and we were always treated very much like rockstars.
I was on and off planes and in and out of busses and hotel rooms several times a month all year long for about 4 years. I loved playing the music and I especially loved the audience reaction when we played it for them. I fed off of the love vibes they gave, and gave it right back.
The energy loop of music is like no other.
Even during the normally quieter months when many bands closed down entirely, we maintained our schedule. I was also blessed, because my solo gigs allowed me to be flexible to my travel gigs, and so I was somehow, able to do it all. I even got back into art and sold my guitar paintings on clothing and mugs and blankets and fun items. Rock stars, backstage crew, music fans and and radio DJ's purcased and shared my GUITARious gear as it was natural for me to create my own stuff and share the links to where I created it, as I travelled around. It worked well, I don't travel with gear, I share my ideas and the art that's inside me. It all worked.
About a month pre-covid, we as a band were lighting ourselves on fire, the Arrival band had just played Roger's arena during the Canucks game, and we launched a third band, Dixie Darlins (now called Gaslighter), a tribute to the Dixie Chicks. We were driving home from a theatre near Osoyoos BC when we got the news that the country was shutting down.
We figured it would last a couple weeks, maybe a month. You all know what happened next, gigs dropped left and right as the country shut down.....and it kept happening. One by one our bookings (which we had well into 2021 at that point) were cancelled, the ones that could be, were rescheduled for next year but immediately our calendar dried up and everyone's world changed. As far as bands go we did as much as we could, we were involved in the first Canada wide TributeWebFest 2020, Tracy Masson and I dusted off our Abba characters and joined the Rogers arena musicians in a tribute video for the Canucks.
But online work is a different animal: you don't get the energy loop. I missed it.
The solo venues that pivoted and kept music also kept me so I've been able to do solo work all year. And that's been soul filling. As a background performer the gig is inherently different, I have to blend in, I don't need the energy loop in the same way, I can do that show for myself, I just invite people in.
Thankfully I was able to work a little doing the solo gig throughout much of it.
In November however, Hallelujah, the band bookings started coming in.
But something happened and I didn't want to do it. I was still afraid of travelling.
Something in me had changed during the months away—I had slowed down and reconnected with my family and home life, and I liked it.
I liked not having a trip looming or packing, song lists, gear and travel to worry about.
My band, they are a machine, they are made for music and ready to play, and I wanted them to.
So I asked them to find a sub for me. They did and they had a fantastic show and the rock n roll machine that is Arrival and Dreams roared on without me and I was so happy for them and so glad they could work without me getting on a plane...
and then it hit me...
I don't miss it, the travelling I mean. I do miss the audience but I don't miss the grind. I realized I was happier at home with my family......and I think I'm done.
Knowing there was a bigger than normal gap in our schedule (we already had bookings for 2021) I knew it was a good time for the band to pivot and so I gave my notice, told them I was retiring from the road and they set their focus to dial in killer new powerhouse vocals, and finally, officially, they are there!!
And so I am here, close to home and family, occasionally singing and strumming solo at a select variety of bistros, lounges, private venues, golf/tennis courses. Once in a while I have a girlfriend join me onstage, stay tuned for what might happen with that...
Which finally brings me to pickleball. Like so many others, during covid I discovered that I love Pickleball. We moved to a new area just as the world shut down and found ourselves walking our dog past a pickleball court every day, (the only thing left to do it seemed).
We used to laugh at them all, playing a game with such a weird name...
HOW JUDGY WERE WE?
Which is probably why I wrote the children’s story: “Where are the pickles in Pickleball”? (Now out on Amazon).
You see, my own reaction to the name triggered me to judge it, so I figured that if people can read this book to young kids and get them excited about Pickleball despite the name, then maybe when kids meet me in elementary school for Pickleball month, the mystery of the name will be old news, they won’t pre judge it and they might even look forward to it. That is my hope anyhow.
And so now I am a full time pickleballaholic.
My hubby and I play every day that it’s nice outside (when our bodies let us) and at a certain time of year, every year, I help the local Pickleball club teach at the schools. Because I want everyone to know the sport. It has brought so much joy and health (and injury that I only got stronger from) to my life, and I want everyone to know about it. And naturally, I started making my own patterns and art to wear for Pickleball, which I put out there for others to order if they like it. Just as I did with my GUITARious gear all the years I was performing and touring. I have some classic GUITARious stuff for you too by the way. Items which in their conception so many years ago set me up for today because it has translated to Pickleball, and that is how you wound up here.
Visit my blog
If you want more on all of the music journey (and there is more) visit my blog! I kept a diary of it all for a few years.